“Dancing with the Delaware Stars: A Night of Glitz, Glamour, and Community Spirit at the Wilmington Public Library!”

The Wilmington Public Library’s 1st Annual Dancing with the Delaware Stars Fundraising Event was a night to remember. As the 2022 National IMLS Medal Winner, the library is known for demonstrating excellence in service to its community, and this event was no exception.

(Left) Carl Shaw, Wali & Yolanda Rushdan, Dr. Danye Woods, Blake Sauders, and Jamar Rahming Photo/Emir Lake

The night began with a who’s who VIP meet and greet, followed by a fun dance competition featuring eight couples who danced to different genres of music. From Thomas and Sandra Wallace’s 70s-inspired routine to State Rep Mimi Minor Brown and her husband Grandville Brown’s Beyonce and Jay Z tribute, the competition was fierce. Renata Kowalczyk and Ivan Thomas, also known as Twinkle Toes Thomas, danced to Michael Jackson’s PYT, while Pastor Bernadette and David Mills introduced the audience to ragtime. Councilman James’ beautiful wife, Leeanne, also brought her A-game, and Ayanna Khan & Randall Law did a perfect rendition of Kris Kross. However, the night belonged to two outstanding teams. Yolanda and Wali Rushdan came in second place, taking the audience on a well-deserved trip to the motherland. At the same time, Dr. Danye Woods and Blake “The Brain” Saunders won first place with their rendition of 90’s hip hop dances that turned into a scene from the movie “House Party”.

Renata Kowalczyk and Ivan Thomas danced the night away to end the first half of the gala Photo Credit Emir Lake

Despite starting as a competition, the event was a victory for everyone. Some contestants had never danced before or felt uncomfortable being on stage, but they pushed through and came out of their shells, falling back in love with themselves. Besides the trophies, everyone in the building won. The display of diverse dancers with different backgrounds came in as competitors but left as friends and family forever.

The event was a sold-out show, with dancers coming ready in costume to showcase their dedication and passion for the art of dance. Celebrities Darryl Bell from “A Different World” and Tempestt Bledsoe, who played Vanessa on “The Cosby Show,” hosted the event and fundraising gala.

Professional dance instructors from Christina Cultural Arts Center, including Tiana Jackson, Tiana Sanders, and Kenneth Martin, coached the teams tirelessly—special shout out to Dara J. Meredith, DWTS. Creative Coordinator. They even gave a touching performance dedicated to the late Councilwoman Rysheema Dixon, who passed away last year.

The entire group of dancers and instructors


The Wilmington Public Library’s 1st Annual Dancing with the Delaware Stars Fundraising Event was hugely successful. It showcased the library’s commitment to serving its community in new and exciting ways and brought people together to celebrate the art of dance.

All Pictures in slider provided by Emir Lake Photography

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